– My professorship will focus on entrepreneurship and especially on SME business development, says Professor Pekka Töytäri.
Töytäri comes to the University of Vaasa from Aalto University, where he works as a professor of practice in sales and management of product-service systems. Before this, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher and, among other things, as a programme manager of the S4Fleet programme at the innovation platform Dimecc.
In 2015, Töytäri defended his doctoral dissertation on value-based selling and pricing at Aalto University.
– My research focus has been on sales as an organisational process in developing joint value-creation opportunities with customers. Recently, my focus has been on value-innovation, value-communication, and value-creation in business networks.
A professor with three careers
Before entering academia, Töytäri worked for a long time in international business management positions and later as a coaching consultant and entrepreneur in his own company.
– Until 2002, I was Director of Sales, Solutions and Consulting at Reuters. I covered eight Nordic and Baltic countries.
Since becoming an entrepreneur and consultant, Töytäri has given thousands of talks, coaching sessions and development programmes to hundreds of growth companies and large companies in IT and manufacturing industry. This has also included a large number of companies in Ostrobothnia and South Ostrobothnia. Interaction with companies has also been important in his later academic career. Töytäri has, for example, coached companies in the university's executive education programmes.
– When I was a consultant, I thought I should write a book and get a doctoral degree for credibility. Along the way, however, my goal changed. I no longer planned to continue as a consultant, but to pursue an academic career.
As a researcher and professor of practice, Töytäri has focused on research, publishing, and teaching. He has a strong track record of high-quality publications and has been successful in obtaining research funding for his projects. He has also supervised a large number of theses and taught two major courses yearly.
Inspired by societal impact: "Research needs to be brought to life"
The professorship in entrepreneurship at the University of Vaasa and the Epanet research network is an exciting new opportunity for Töytäri, who has himself been an entrepreneur. In addition to research, the new role also involves strong interaction with local companies and organisations.
– Publishing research gives you academic merits, but it should also be brought to life for society to benefit from. That is why the impact of research is so important. I am happy to speak at company events on the themes of my research.
Töytäri believes that as a professor and researcher, he can help and contribute to companies that need to renew and change for future success.
Bridging the gap between science and decision-making
The five-year professorship in entrepreneurship is an endowed professorship. It will support business growth and business development through regional visibility and active interaction. The professorship aims to produce new scientific knowledge in strategic business development and thereby add value to companies in South Ostrobothnia.
The professorship is funded by the University of Vaasa, the cities of Alavus, Alajärvi, Kauhava, Kurikka, Lapua, Seinäjoki, Ähtäri and the municipalities of Evijärvi, Ilmajoki, Isojoki, Isokyrö, Karijoki, Kuortane, Lappajärvi, Soini, Teuva and Vimpeli, Etelä-Pohjanmaan Yrittäjät (South Ostrobothnian Entrepreneur Association), the South Ostrobothnian Chamber of Commerce, Ilkka Oyj, Töysä Savings Bank Foundation, Kuortane Savings Bank Foundation, Seinäjoki University Centre, and Etelä-Pohjanmaan korkeakouluyhdistys (University Foundation of South Ostrobothnia).
- Name: Pekka Töytäri
- Born: 1962
- Education: Doctor of Technology (industrial economics) with honours from Aalto University in 2015.
- Current position: Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Vaasa, Seinäjoki Campus.
- Previous career: Several management positions in international companies until 2002 (Reuters Nordic, Dow Jones Telerate), executive coach and entrepreneur until 2010, and since academic career at Aalto University. Töytäri will continue at Aalto for a year on a part-time basis.
- Family: Spouse and three adult children.
- Lives: In Espoo
- Leisure activities: Sail racing until 2014, and since then endurance sports, especially triathlon. Töytäri has several national age group championships in different triathlon distances and a 4th place in the Barcelona 2017 full-distance Ironman race.
- Surprise: "I have a million tons of granite to sell". He has managed with his wife a family business of granite mining.